Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It’s Hard to Respect Unrealistic and Hypocritical Boundaries

Right now, I’m looking at one of the dumbest “exposes” on sexism I’ve ever seen. It’s a photo collection of a woman doing ordinary things like Yoga, working at her office desk, sitting at a bar, walking in a subway station or cooking… all while being accosted by groping hands as she pays blank-faced attention to the tasks before her.

It’s called “Boundaries” by photographer Allaire Bartel, and it’s supposed to be “a jarring visual symbolization of male entitlement in a woman’s everyday life,” as the Huffington Post explains.

Bartel’s website goes into further detail: “In this series, you will see one woman – an average young professional –depicted in routine daily situations. The concept of male entitlement is represented by male arms and hands performing a variety of actions that are overwhelmingly intrusive on her body and her life. In each situation, she maintains a blank expression, a visual choice that demonstrates how conditioned we as women have become to accept this atmosphere as excusable and even normal.”

Here’s a counter-thought: How about we “demonstrate how conditioned we as women have become to accept” a whole different narrative?

I mean the mental and psychological violation that accosts us every other day about how horrible men treat women and how victimized we are. About how we should be able to do whatever we want, wear whatever we want and say whatever we want without any consequences.

These are lies, they’re unhelpful lies and, in fact, they’re downright dangerous lies.

Now, when I say “consequences,” I’m not even talking about rape or sexual assault, which is never excusable. I’m talking about women like Rihanna and Beyonce and Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande going around showing off their goodies 24-seven and then demanding to be respected. I mean housewives getting off on “Fifty Shades of Grey” and then wondering why their husbands don’t treat them like they have brains. And I’m referring to Hillary Clinton letting her husband violate whatever woman he can, then getting up on her I-deserve-to-be-president-because-I’m-a-woman platform.

This is pathetic! It doesn’t work that way, any more than pig slop and perfume are equitable. If you roll in the former, then demand to be told you smell good anyway, no one is going to take you seriously.

Okay, let’s face it: Men can be pigs who want to wallow in that slop. And no, there’s no excuse for them when they do. But guess what? I’ve worked with a whole lot of such pigs. Yet I only worried about one of them putting their hands on me like these pictures depict happens all the time. (Not without my permission anyway; if I’d given them the go-ahead, it would have been a whole different story.)

Most men aren’t anywhere as bad as Bartel and her ilk want us to believe. And my guess is most of them would act a whole lot better if we would just give them reason to.

Why not try it out? It can’t do us any more damage than the current whiny hypocrisy we’ve adopted.

‘Cause right now, a much more accurate depiction of the prevalence of sexism in society would be to have pictures of women being accosted by female hands while a bunch of pathetic men drool on the sidelines.

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